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Robert Kaplan Education. (2012) 'The Revenge of Geography What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate.' New.

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  CSPAN    Book TV    Robert Kaplan  Education.  (2012) 'The Revenge of Geography  
   What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle...  

    September 23, 2012
    6:30 - 8:00pm EDT  

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was she not a daughter of privilege? was she not someone who had a tempestuous courtship, was put under scrutiny, what criticized for her fashion? the parallels are interesting. >> this weekend, katherine clinton on the troubled life of first lady mary todd lynnline. lincoln. >> robert kaplan discusses the role that joing agraph has taken in the future. this is ten minutes. >> good evening, welcome and thank you for joining us here. i'm richard fontaine, the president of the center for new american security. it's a real pleasure to welcome you all here to celebrate the publication of robert kaplan's new book, "the revenge of geeing
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agraph, what the map tells us about coming conflicts and the battle against fate." i have heard it say you honor a great author not by reading their books but by buying them. you'll be happy to know that the books will be sold after the conversation on the stage in this room back here. bob kaplan's work is no doubt well known to many in this audience. he has been a senior fellow at cnas and in march of 2008, a foreign correspondent for the atlantic for a quarter century, and is currently chief geo political analyst at stratfor. i first became acquainted with his writing with a book that traces the westerners living and working in the middle east. and since that book the very titles of his work, bachan, the coming anarchy, have provoked intense debate in circles. his most recent book about the
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indian ocean has been required reading among the many interested in the future of strategic competition in the coming decades. is a have gotten to know bob over the past few years i learn he is not only a superb journalist, school already, and big thinker, he is also a warm human being and demonstrates a curiosity. we're the only two who decided to read ulysses in our spare time. that's true. now bob graces us with his new book, and in it he argues, counterintuitive, the way to grasp what is happening is in world is to rediscover something basic, the spatial representation of humanities divisions, possibilities, and most important, constraints, the map leads us to the right source of questions. that's a provocative argument and one we will examine in some detail in tonight's conversation. joining bob in that conversation is david ignatius, one of the nation's foremost strategic
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thinkers in his own right. a columnist for the washington post, david is a renowned writer of both fiction and nonfiction, and his latest novel, "blood "money. he is well known for his keen insights into the working of governments and other actors. with these two gentlemen were poised for an illuminating conversation about the world, the future, and the revenge of geography. bob and david, over to you. >> thank you, richard. i think you're probably not supposed to say this as the serious moderator guy, but i love this book. it's embarrassing how marked up it is, how many yellow posties i put in it. i'm not doing that to flatter the teacher but because i really liked it and, i want to try to walk the audience through this. have bob walk the audience
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through it. and i'd like to start with a provocative opening comment that you make, bob. you say, my reporting over three decades has convinced me we all need to recover a sensibility about time and space that has been lost in the jet and information ages when elite molders of public opinion, dash across oceans and continentses in hours, something which allows them to talk glibbly about what the distinguished "new york times" column list label a flat world. instayed i will be spouse readers of figure who will push up hard against the notion that geography no longer matters. so i want you to start with the basics of geography. and tell us why mountains, rivers, plains, prom mentors, matter so decisively in the world that you sketch in the book. >> well, david, what so many --
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with so many opinion writers in the opinion pages, the distinguished literary journals concerned with -- and this is epitomized by tom freedman's work who i respect greatly. what we can do. it's all the things we can accomplish if only we had the right solution and everything. and what i'm doing is i'm saying, that's fine. that's human agency. that's fighting against fate. but what i'm showing you in this book is the other side. i'm not a disagreeing what if they say but i'm saying, there's another reality. the formidable barriers to human agency, which if you do not respect you can never overcome. and chief among those formidable barriers is geography. which is so basic that it goes unremarked upon. if you want to know about a country rather than see history leaders are or what they're policies are, look at the map. look at the map of the united states in terms of seas, prom
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mentors, harbors these, coast of the united states, the 13 colonies, was jam packed with great natural harbors. the whole coast of africa, thousands of miles, relatively few good harbors which hindered africa's development, but the east coast was packed with them, and the united states, the continental core of the u.s. was the last resource rich part of the zone that was settled and waterways flowing in a convenient east-west fashion than the rest of the world's waterways combined. so i'm saying that americans -- we're important not only because of their ideas and their democracy but because of where we happen to live as well, and so that's why these things, like mountains matter. the himalayas matter. they have allowed india and china to develop into who
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completely disstink great world civilizations without having much to do with each other, through long periods of history. >> so let's take that image that you offered of america, this amazingly suitable geographical place with all these great natural harbors and rivers that run the right way, but that was true for thousands of years, and did not lead to the development in what we think of as the united states, to great civilization, outreaching. it wasn't until european civilization arrived and began to make powerful use of those great harbors and rivers, that the geographical advantages were obvious. so, help us to think about why it's geography that we should focus on as opposed to the cultural or civilizational
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aspect of europe. >> well, that was due to the development of sailing ships and the right sails, which enabled cross-atlantic voyages. so the development of technology, while it shortened distance, it did not negate geeing agraph. it merely meat it more important because is opened up a whole new geography to the world conflict system in and the world trade system. culture and economics and people's flow from the geography, because what is culture? it's the accumulated experience of the specific people on a specific landscape, over hundreds of thousands of years, that leads to traditions and habits that can be identifiable. one of the places i've always considered to have the most deeply dense identifiable cultures is romania.
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nobody can mistake there's a specific romanian culture formed by the consulate between invaders coming from central europe and those coming from the plateau. which is fostered a very suspicious negotiating style, character that you can see right up into the politics to this day, and i can go through every country -- not every country but many countries and talk about that. >> a moment about germany. one of the resting images in the book is your description -- you're quoting a german historian who called germany a big prison, meaning it was caught between the north sea, baltic, and the alps, and if it
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wanted to expand it cooperate. it was a tight prison. that sounds like the kind of nail sis that was popular a century ago when people talk about the route but has gone out of fashion. explain to us, when we think about germany today, when we think about europe, what your analysis would tell us? >> golo was the son of the novelless, and he wrote a great history of germany, and his point was that germany has natural boundaries to the north and the north and seas and south and the car pagans. but east it's flat plains so germanys had wars with france or that area, and with poland, and with that area. and because germany was a continental power, it sandwiched between maritime europe on one hand and the heartland of europe towards russia on the other. it was always problematic which
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way it could go, how it would develop. now, i came across this book by accident in early 1989. early 1989. the berlin wall would fall that november, and i had been back and forth to east germany, and it occurred to me, after reading this book and other books, that the berlin wall or the dividing line between eastern and western germany was nearly one part of german history. that germany would have different -- would reinvent itself in different territorial ways in the future. so, today we have a united germany that trades immensely with pole -- poland. that where the european union and nato were meant to keep russia out and the germans down, now the germans are triumphant
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economically in lure. germany may not have all the solutions but berlin is the point of arbitration for all of them. so the question really arises -- and this gets back. >> host: ography -- with russia still needing buffer zones in eastern europe -- remember, the collapse of the warsaw pact did not end russia's insecurity facing west. it faced invasions by sweeds, lithuanians, pols, french, thought history. so we're back to russia as a regional power, flush with natural gas wealth, a rich and wealthy germany, and a o'land but a poland has significant stores of natural shale gas which may make it an energy power in the 21st century. so this is living geeing agraph.
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>> your argument about russia and russia's insecurity would basically be, it's too flat. >> yes. russia has half the world's lodgituded but -- longitudes, but it's newscast. it's indefensible. the rivers run north south instead of east west, and it has less people than bangladesh. 141 million people. bangladesh has more people. so, vladimir putin's cynical neoimperialism are the wages of a deep geographical insecurity. so that's how we should understand him. not as a mad man or totalitarian but a traditional russian autocrat. >> one of the interesting parts of the book is the discussion about the fall of the berlin wall, and you say that it made us too optimistic. it made us too convinced that
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human agency, our system of democracy, our system of free markets, would have a transforming power. talk about that and take that story through the 1980s and into the 90s. >> right, the fall of the berlin wall eliminated constraints. we thought that because we could get the red army out of eastern europe, it suddenly would have a transformative effect in the middle east and subs -- subsaharaan -- it would be a long and blood and -- bloody story in the 1990s, i saw how the u.s. air force defeated geography in the balkins, and
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this successful conclusion to wars in bosnia and kosovo were a big factor in allowing nato to expand to the black sea, and it was really the success of the balkans, the success of pan marks the success of haiti, the we were bloodied a bit in somalia -- that made people think we can do anything, and that is when geography got its revenge in the mountains and deserts of iraq and afghanistan. because a transformative moment for me, was imbedded with the first battalion of the fifth marines, in kuwait in march 2004, and we were making an overland journey of several hundred miles to fallujah, and fallujah was not yet in the news. the battle was still a month away, the first battle of fallujah, and all we did was transport one marine battalion from one place to another.
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no fighting in between. wasn't particularly dangerous. but the logistics were absolutely immense. gas stations, mountains of water bottles. a tool kit. meals ready to eat. it was just an immense logistical exercise to get men and women and materiale from northern kuwait to fallujah without any fighting, and there you saw how distance mattered. how you just couldn't defeat distance through the latest technology. >> i think it might be interesting for the audience if you'd personalize the story of iraq a little bit, and talk about your own views. this is a place you knew, that you traveled in, in the 1980s and the time of saddam hussein. you were a supporter of the war.
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explain why, and then i found some of the most wrenching passages of the book, discussions about what a disaster iraq war has proved for every part, the united states, most of all, the iraqis. >> yes. i knew iraq intimately in the 1980s as a reporter. i covered the iran-iraq war from the iraq side. iraq was like a vast prison yard lit up by high whattage lamps under saddam hussein. it was so suffocating that i could compare it to no place in the arab world but i could compare it to romania, which i also noontime partly, and to go from saddam hussein's iraq to syria, was like coming up the libbal human stair. we tend to say all dictators are bad, all democrats are good.
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you know, we erase distinctions and it's distinctions that give us the complexity we indiana to understand the world, andways, assad ran a brutal dictatorship but nothing like saddam, and i had my passport taken away for ten days by the iraqi authorities when i was in iraqi. i was very nervous, obviously. i only got it back at the airport before i left, and i was a journalist who got too close to my story. and i was intent on eliminating saddam hussein. i believed like a lot of people, in different western countries in the world, and on both sides of the aisle in the u.s., that there were wmd. more importantly, i believed the regime this suffocatingly brutal, you couldn't trust it. you had to assume that it existed out there. and the war turned out so
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miserably. i ham not a fatal list. had we had different generals, different strategy, could have been different. you can't say it wouldn't have matter no matter matte what we did, but a lot of the mistakes we made implicit in the hubris of the conception. we can play counterfactuals all we want, but at the end of the day you're stuck with the factious have, and you have to live with them and deal with them. >> you add up the cost, almost 5,000 american dead, perhaps hundreds of thousands of iraqis killed. a trillion dollars in costs. and you said, even if iraq -- even if everything turned out great and iraq somehow became an american ally and quasi-democratic, it would still be hard to justify, and it's this line which struck me: iraq
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undermined the key element in the mindset of some, that the projection of american power always had a moral result. so it's really an argument that iraq was fundamentally an immoral war. not simply a failure but one that was immoral. >> even democracies that have the best of intentions can take actions that have amoral or immoral results, depending upon how they carry it out and how well they think things threw. not just one step in advance but five check -- chess moves ahead of the time. so, this is why -- this gets me to a discussion later on in the book about realism. and what i say is, what is realism? realism is more of a sensibility than a philosophy. it's about you recognize interests over values.
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because if you recognize interests, you'll be very careful about where you get involved over overseas and if you recognize interests, you'll respect the interest of other nations and thin lies compromise. whereas if you make wars out of values purely, you're liable to demonize your opponent because he disagree is with you on values and thin lies war and conflict. it's because realists expect conflict they're less likely to overreact to it than moralists. also, realists also view uorder above freedom. because without some semblance of order, freedom doesn't mean anything. people can't practice it in the first place. and that was another thing i learned about iraq. which was that even the tyranny of saddam hussein, as horrible
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as it was, precisely because it was a tyranny, there were rules, and people could get around, and people -- daily life was predictable, you knew what was not allowed. but in a state of anarchy, which is what iraq descended to in 2006 and 2007, there were no rules. >> you also talk in the book about the two governing analogies, the munich analogy that compromise is fatal, look at munich. look how munich led the second world war, the rise of hit hitler, the holocaust, and the vietnam analogy which argues the limits of power. the realess argument you were making of the efforts of big transformative throws of the dice often have very unfortunate results, and you really talk about foreign policy as being
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these two ideas or analogies in play, and i'd be interested in your own -- i end up thinking that you're a vietnam install -- analogy guy. that you wouldn't subscribe to that. >> let me say that realism leads to the map, which is the spatial representation of humanities divisions and interests in the first place, and that's how i segway into the discussion of geography which dominates the rest of the book. as far as munich and vietnam, i think you have to take them both together. you cannot be a munich guy or a vietnam guy. munich is an analogy that tends to thrive when the country has been in peace and prosperity for long enough so it feels it can do anything. it feels it can intervene on
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behalf of oprocessed people around the world and doesn't think about the cost because it hasn't had to pay the cost in a war for several decades by now. vietnam is about taking care of one's own and about paying attention to how things can go so horribly wrong despite the best of intention. now ex-if you're a total vietnam person, you will be such an utter realist that it would be too crude you. won't have anything beyond interests, and a nation requires ideals merely for itself self-identity to define itself. i if you're only a munich person you will be intervening everytime there's a massive human rights atrocity. you'll have troops in five different places at once. so, it's only when the two analogies are put together that a stable policy can emerge, a policy that can get public
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support over the long term. >> so let's talk -- i'm sure the audience is going to want to in your questions -- about current affairs. we're in the middle of a week in which we're seeing just how unstable this great big part of the world, near east and middle east, can be. we had today violence extending as far as bangladesh, and i wonder, through the lens that you've developed in this book, what you would say to policymakers as they try to figure out how to respond to an islamic world that is just exploding with anger and instability? >> i would say that communications technology has collapsed distance, but rather than negate geography, it's only increased its preciousness now. you have people in indonesia who care vitally about what the
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israelis did interrupting the flotilla bound for gaza. and you have crowds in bangladesh and i'm sure tomorrow we may see in may malaysia and indonesia and elsewhere, enraged about a movie that was made in california. but while rage can spread around the world, once the -- the rage is a starting point. once you start to analyze what is likely to happen in libya next, what is liable to happen in egypt next, and what's label to happen in serious next, you get very defendant scenarios based on the legacy of geeing agraph. geeing agraphy shows libya was never a country but a vague geographical expression, with tripoli and tunisia, and because
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it was never a country it can only be governed through the most austere totalitarian means, and once that collapsed, though we have an elected government in tripoli, it cannot project power beyond greater tripoli. so you have a problem of governmental incapacity in libya that cannot deal with the crisis. in egypt it's different. egypt you have a country that has been an age-old cluster of civilization for thousands of years. a cohesive community along the nile, where the government has far greater bureaucratic and institutional power even under this new regime than the government in libya has. the government in egypt has an army. it has police forces. but its problem is political. can an islamic government take actions against islamic demonstrators? >> to take the other big issue that we're thinking about this
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week, iran. iran is a big theme in your book. you talked in one chapter about the iranian pivot. the prime minister of israel has -- sees iran very much in terms of the new nick install. and iran can threaten the existence of israel and draws policies and conclusions from that. you have a broader historical and geographical analysis, and i'm curious, what you say about the decisions that we're going to be looking at over the next few weeks, months, 12 to 18 months going to be resolved one way or the other. what would your advice be to people? >> first of all, iran is a much more serious state than saudi arabia or any in the arab world.
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there have been governments, persian-speaking governments on the iranian plateau going back to antiquity. iran is synonymous with the iranian plateau which fronts on both the caspian and the persian gulf. it has roads and pipelines open to central asia on one hand and down in ooh into iraq on the other. this iranian regime may have trouble and may transform itself. may even be overthrown in coming years but there will always be a iran a great iranian power. saudi arabia is more tenuous. it's the creation of a family. it's not synonymous with the araban peninsula. there are many other countries on the peninsula. its borders are artificial. in the center has always has
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trouble keeping the cosmo -- cosmo poll continues under control. iran is not a one man thugocracy like saddam hussein. again, the gift of the iranian plateau and the geographically legitimate si it provideds the government over millena, i would say that a grand strategy has to be that the u.s. has been estranged from iran for a third of a century. that's a decade longer than the were estranged with red china, between 48 and 72. ...
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>> i am not being an appeaser here, but the long-range strategy, what the roadmap has to be normalizing u.s. relations with iran, that is an interesting and good answer. it may well be that the complication is the way -- the eventual normalization that the normal site seems able to achieve now. because my time, is your question questions are about to
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begin and the audience is about to have their time, i would like to talk about the conclusions yearbook. which are very fascinating. one conclusion was the u.s. should think about how to withdraw sensibly and gracefully, if you will from its rule after the second world war after the dominant power. but that process of resizing american power, if you will, is essential. am i reading that right? >> yes, you are. the u.s. has to think about how can we, make a graceful exit from history is a dominant and great power. rome was overcome by what they call by iberian tribes.
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but it was certainly not inevitable. rome became too brittle. it makes sense that we need to gradually build allies around the world, rather than us covering totally the military burden. let me talk about asia in this regard. china is developing a significant power china's land borders are more secure than they have been since the early 19th century. china is secure on land and it can afford to go to sea in a manner that it hasn't had previously the u.s. continues to dominate the u.s. navy and air force to the same degree that he
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did throughout the post-cold war? would they try to encourage japan and vietnam, the philippines, malaysia, australia, and particularly, and others to bear some of the burden? that is what i mean by a grateful exit from history. >> okay, so i'm going to let the audience discovered through your questions with the other main conclusion of the book is. but i want to ask you before we turn it over. how would you respond if mitt romney stood up and said, mr. robert kaplan, you are being defeatist. you are walking away from america's historical role where we are the central power and you are talking about the inevitable necessary decline. how would you respond to that? >> i would say that i am not being defeated by being sly and while. it i want american influence to
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extend long into the decade. they cannot do that bearing the same exact level of burden that we have been very now. we cannot confront russia and china and be the hegemon in swords of the great old middle east endlessly. we have to not let countries like vietnam and the philippines drag us into a war with china over the south china sea. to that clever balance. in any case, the u.s. has so much shale oil deposits in texas and louisiana and oklahoma and other places that i can name, that we are going to be -- because of energy reserves, we are going to be a significant power for decades to come in any case. so now is the time to try to get allies and like-minded others to
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do more. >> i would like to note that this book has on the cover a paragraph from henry kissinger. this is obviously a set of arguments that people need to consider very seriously. let's go to the arguments for questions. keep your questions ready. identify yourself and say yes, please, sir. >> i see the hand off right there. >> yes, hello, i just wanted to ask you about russia. because the argument you present it, it has been essentially used, the argument has been used to justify any and all expansions from moscow to the areas in the soviet and etc. so what about the interests of
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the countries around russia that are impacted by this alleged russian need for security? >> yes, this russian need for insecurity goes back centuries. but vladimir putin is not trying to re-create the warsaw pact. he is not going to invade the baltic faith. the limited invasion of georgia is about all he could muster. he lacks the military bandwidth to take back central asia. he can forgive and maneuver around it, swedish banks are very busy and the baltic militas developing, yet the russians are trying to acquire electricity, grids, and other infrastructure and base in central and eastern europe, now that the european union lacks the financial
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capacity to help develop places like serbia and ukraine from the way they did in the early part of the last decade in the 1990s. so russia is not coming back as the former soviet union -- excuse me come in the new soviet union. it is a substantial, regional power that can be contained through normal means. through negotiations and arming our allies. particularly, why did the pools in the romanians go along with us, special forces in africa, not to think it's about everything we do. it's because the romanians and others know that it's not nato, per se, that's going to defend him, it is the united states. >> yes, in the first row, please? >> i think they would like a
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microphone because this is being recorded and broadcast it. >> from ohio state university, personal, first of all, as a professional geographer, i want to thank you for over the past decade for putting geography and the thought. recently there have been some territorial disputes among china and japan and south korea. so what is your theory of what is happening next, and secondly, what kind do you think that we should take in terms of china, the rising power of china, in order to secure the american significance. >> i think what has been happening from japan at the south indonesia, is that in the
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50s and 60s and 70s, all of these countries were internally focused. they were developing their own economies, their own national capacities, their own military. this is, you know, vietnam and malaysia had internal boards of rebellion and nationbuilding, the philippines had the rebellion in the 1950s, japan was just coming online as a significant power in the 1970s, and it was korea that really developed into a significant power. what has happened now is that all these countries have developed already. and because they have developed, they now have the ability to project power outward. into the blue territorial soil is that they claim. they didn't have this capacity before. so now we are seeing conflicts
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about violence and geographical features that are below water and high tide that we never saw before. people say has everyone gone crazy in east asia? know, everyone is developing east asia and now they have military and there is this conflicting -- and they have developed navies and air forces and there is this conflicting -- there's conflict over geographical space. it is a battle over geographical space, not about ideas. there are no ideas involved here. this is all about territory. this is all about you know, national status. people say in europe that nationalism went out of fashion and we are in a post- national age. that is not what i see in east asia. i see nationalism is very feisty and healthy. >> that is one of the interesting things in this book, the ideas about globalization and the end of national
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boundaries. >> yes, sir, second row of. >> thank you, very much. based in beirut, lebanon. that is where i'm from. could you give us information as to why there was a double detail with regards to our situation and that veto was three times over. and do you think there is any impact of this weeks events in libya, egypt, yemen, and others, the approach of this administration to our crisis? >> let me say that china is a bit barfield. but russia has interests in syria. the way the russians see it is they have already suffered a setback the overthrow of qadhafi and the demise of saddam hussein
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who is, despite all the ink spilled about how we supported him in the iran and iraq were, we were mainly closer to iraq at the time. syria, russia cannot be happy about the possible loss of another ally in the middle east. russia has a certain degree of interest in a naval base in part, more importantly, russia knows, vladimir putin knows that central asia is presently a powder keg gets much less news than it deserves. and if you've got the arab spring was tumultuous and occasionally violent, you'll love central asia. because of central asia did not have the european liberalizing backs on intellectuals like the arab world, which is proximate to what your pet.
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it had intelligence that was completely pulverized by stone. central asia could really be a tinderbox. the last thing russia wants to see, is an islamist state in syria that becomes, you know, the model or a symbol or anything that might erupt in central asia. so russia's interest in trying to keep us in power, if that is at all possible, is the understandable interest, the legitimate interests that stem from russia's geographical situation. >> yes, you know, we have so many hands, we probably should let other folks ask questions. yes, please. >> thank you, sir, for being
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here. i'm going to take a brief look at defense. my question is the strategic balance in to asia. in your view, this is an attempt to contain china and given the geographic problems that china has being surrounded by numerous ethnic states and not to mention, india and hostile southeast asian powers,. >> you know, i was in beijing recently. and in beijing, there are thousands of american businessmen's and thousands of chinese students here. you cannot use the word containment because it has a cold war vintage. it doesn't capture the complexity of relationship between the united states and china. speaking about the event, i think the pivot was a natural occurrence that would have happened no matter what it was called or turned. we are concluding to ground wars
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in one part of the world. in previous decades and centuries, when the u.s. has concluded ground engagement, it often retreats into semi- isolationism. this was also true after world war ii. remember, it was the korean war that gave harry truman the political space he needed to send the troops back to you. so we didn't want to treat retreat into semi- isolation. it was meant to be a redirection of policy to asia, actually to the berlin wall cells, but then saddam hussein invaded kuwait, we got involved in a war in iraq, and more importantly, the army and navy got very involved in no-fly zones in iraq, right up to the next 12 years. then there was the iraq war in afghanistan, so that it is really saying that we are back where we were in 1989.
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we have had two decades, you know, of distractions, so now we are going to show asia that we are there and we are back that we are engaged. the problem with the pivot is that it implies that you could turn your attention away from the middle east. with the middle east shows is you can never turn their attention away from the middle east. so that is the real challenge. i want to turn to the side of the room, the gentleman with the blue shirt and the new commissary. >> bob mcbrien, former government. talking about geographic divides, you mentioned, i believe in your book, you make reference to the u.s. and mexico. and how do you view the effective things, such as transnational criminal organizations and the confluence of such things as radical
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extremists, the movement of a ron into venezuela in some respects, and the fact that we have this very large border that is essentially flat? >> in my book, talking about mexico, because i believe not only is china and the great old middle is crucial to u.s. yesterday, but mexico is on the same level. it is on the same level of importance because latin history is moving north. demographically. the average guatemalan and honduras is 20 years old. the average american is 37. there is a much younger population that is growing at faster rates than ours, and whatever we do with immigration, there will be more latin speaking people in our society. you know, arnold wrote back in the early part of the 20th century that when you have an
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artificial border, which much of our southern border is, it is a highly developed society at an institutionally less-developed society. the border doesn't stay stable, but it moves in the direction of the less-developed society, which ultimately finds a way to overcome the more developed society. now, mexico is seeking 50,000 deaths and violence 2006. that is 2.5 times the deaths in syria over six years. what's interesting is that most of those deaths were in the northern one third of the country. recently, violence has dropped in northern mexico, that is because the cartels are really consolidating their control and are setting up real, honest-to-goodness, geographical spaces.
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you know, close to the u.s. border. so the way that mexico develops as a society, i believe it will impact us mourn over the long run than what happens in iraq or afghanistan. >> to see you again on the policy implications of that, that is the other major conclusion. geography tells us that it is that southern border with mexico that's going to be crucial. but in light of what you said, this is an inevitable zone of conflict, pressures moving, the border, in effect, but northwards, what's the policy for the united states? >> first of all, we have to be very careful about intervening. because of sensitivities that go back to history. remember, we fought a war with mexico, we have had incursions. everything that we do in mexico has to go through a very tight diplomatic filter. that being said, there is more
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that we can do in terms of helping the mexican authorities then we have been doing. you know, the ultimate power of the united states is the time that our top decision-makers can devote to a problem in a given day. that is why we cannot have three wars or two wars going on once. if we set up a no-fly zone in syria, what if the persian gulf about, what if the south china sea routes. we have trouble handling that. that is why, if we could have more of our top decision-makers spend time on the mexico problem, we would probably come up with were bolder and innovative ways to help the mexicans, who, by the way, there is another side to the mexican story. mexico is one of the world's leading economies. its economy has been growing the last two years, rather impressively. it's not a country can easily
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categorize or make into a cliché. it is both incredibly dynamic, but incredibly dysfunctional and lawless at the same time. the gentleman right behind, our last questioner. >> [inaudible] drug trafficking right now, when you look at the map of west africa, with easy? >> what i see in africa in general is that after all bad news in the 1990s, since about the middle of the last decade, african economic growth has been about six or 7%, which is the most impressive in the world. now, you have to subtract from that the 2% of population growth, which makes it different
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than the rise of the asian tigers, also, there is no real manufacturing developing in west africa or elsewhere. south africa is an exception. and it's manufacturing and developing of institutions that really show countries are out of the woods, they are really say. what we have in west africa is that the wars and the rebellion seem to have broke out. but nothing much is happening in the way of stabilizing institutions were developing very strong economic basis. that may come later. remember, the ivory coast was in war only until about 15 months ago. so it takes a while. it might be that, you know, china in places like bangladesh are becoming too expensive for low-cost textile manufacturers and, you know, the question is who is the next china were
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bangladesh? it won't be one place, but it's possible that countries in sub-saharan africa could become the new destination for textile production which would stabilize the economy, provide jobs for young people, so while i rode a very pessimistic article in the atlantic monthly on africa in 1994, the things that i worry about played out in the late '90s and in the early part of the last decade in terms of wars throughout the region. but now i see sub-saharan africa on a much more positive trend. >> it is interesting that the chinese seem to agree with you. >> in the second row here on the side of. >> yes, ma'am. >> in the midcentury, nicholas
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pechman said that geography was were most important factors in foreign affairs because it was the most permanent. this year, we just saw the arctic ice cap drop down another 750 square kilometers and it appears to be opening more this session. what do you think this trend will mean, not next year or even next decade, but say in a generation as it becomes more more ocean in russia and north america. >> he is very provocative, and he was a man, who by the way, when it was unclear that china would defeat japan, predicted that china, who was our ally at the time, would ultimately become our adversary for geographical reasons. and he also said that when europe was fighting for his life against germany, he said that a united europe could really be a
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competitor for the united states. he was very clairvoyant. in terms of the arctic ice cap. this is playing out over decades. if you had an arctic open for shipping, and by the way, a close friend of mine is going to sail the northwest passage, precisely now because of what you bring up, because it will be up greenland, across canada. you could have shipping in the northern area, and this is not covered in the book, unfortunately, that can provide alternative routes that means somewhat less less of an emphasis of say the indian ocean, which i wrote my book about the last time. it would bring russia closer to america. very fundamentally, through the north. it would make canada significant geopolitical player in world affairs. to a degree that it hasn't been.
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because with the canadians, you have shale gas, you have incredible energy and hydropower resources and if you have an open arctic, a geopolitical position would be that much more significant. >> the gentleman here in the third row. >> robber, one i would like to offer is a quick comment on what you noted before about the u.s. and iranian relationship. but it needs to go through some level over the next decade. i presume you are not casting agency only on the united states. but also on iran. to some level of serious behavior change on their part. my question is really, looking into the future. you talk about unburdening the u.s. responsibility for
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maintaining the international order. which countries do you envision in say, south america, africa, you have written about india and indian ocean. which countries do you envision becoming major regional powers that would be alive allied with the u.s. and share our objectives? >> result would not be totally alive the u.s. it is interesting that brazil has carved out an independent identity. ira member when i was indebted for a few years with army special forces, they always had trouble making arrangements to training arrangements and brazil. the brazilians were a bit standoffish compared to everyone else in south america. brazil because of geography, because of its close distance between west africa. over the course of the decade, because establish its own influence. if they were to develop. result would not be hostile to
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the united states, i do not believe. but it would certainly be pretty independent. with its own point of view. as my colleagues have said, that may lead to the u.s. to move closer to argentina and develop argentina's military to balance against brazil. this is really long-range thinking. i think the best piece of strategic good luck with the united states has gotten since the end of the cold war has been the military and economic rise of india. india has had economic problems very recently. it has been overhyped in many ways, but nevertheless, if you compare india in 1991 with india in 2012, it has been an enormous development. we don't need an alliance with india. the indians would reject it at any rate. the indian policy establishment
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in new delhi, the intellectual establishment were rejected. what we have to realize about india is simply by word is on the map. it's economic and military rise, automatically hedges and balances against china. so we should not try to get concessions from india or anything. [inaudible question]
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>> just russia, no, russia, yes. [laughter] >> russia and america has completely different geographical perspectives and geographical situation so their interests are different but they often clash. but we have to recognize that we don't have as hardened
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ideological agreement with russia today as we did during the soviet union. yes, there is still a philosophical difference because of the way that russia is governed and the way that we are governed. but it's not nearly as distant as it was during the cold war. so i think that we should, you know, we should think of ways that we can employ russia as a balancer. in many parts of eurasia. as i mention in the book, israel exists in defiance of history, in a way, because of the jewish reconstitution of the country. let me say this about israel's geography. israel has an urban corridor that extends from tel aviv to jerusalem. it is a singular urban corridor. a small country, maybe the size of new jersey. a country like that cannot
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absorb even one nuclear strike. even during the cold war, there were very cynical, you know, calculations, like we could lose at st. louis, but the u.s. would still go on as a country. but it would go on. and russia made similar calculations. israelis cannot make that calculation. whoever would not be killed would have higher cancer rates to the small size of the country. so it cannot absorb a first strike. that geographical and security is at the heart of the fact that israel has to have different redlines and we have. it is a tragic thing to say, but although our interests and israeli interests overlap to a significant extent, they can never overlap to a total extent. and there will be areas and
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issues where their interests are simply different than ours. and this may be one of them. remember, iran is a much bigger country. iran can absorb it may be a nuclear strike. but, of course, an israeli response to a first strike would be disproportionate. so that it would be illogical is a very mild term, for the iranians to actually weaponize, i think. i think it may be that iran's real power is where it is now, where it has tremendous nuclear capacity, but it doesn't have a weapon. and it isn't quite to the point where it has the enriched uranium. now it has real power, but wants it weaponize is, it is perennially insecure 24 hours a day. what would it do with six or eight low-quality, tactical nuclear weapons, what would that
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be? there would be no second strike capability. iran would be much more insecure than it is today. >> one of the powerful themes in this book is the survival of the jewish people, culminating in israel, as you said, despite the geography. there was a question here. >> i am a professor of geography. you are preaching, i think, to the choir. and i wonder what can be done. >> that is a good thing. i agree. but what can be done to reawaken americans that you have so
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skillfully display? >> i conclude on my point. >> let me just say that geography is something that may not be fashionable. it has a must-see thing like a one-room schoolhouse, kind of. but i think that everyone is intrinsically interested in geography. what books to sell the most often our military history books. they don't get reviewed much, and they are often badly reviewed. but they sell because people, implicitly grasp that ancient history is really military history. but the classical age is realy about military history. people are fascinated by maps. i used to love aaa maps when i
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was a kid. there was a hand in the back, it looks to be like mr. welch, is that right? >> yes, you are pretty optimistic about immigration laws. how do you expect us to get there from where we are here? >> i think we already are getting there. for instance, i have close persian friends in oregon who told me what the altar -- alternate revenge would be, always iranians moved to the united states and senate business to business degrees. they did well. we took the best and the brightest, not just the shots, but the stratum below that all came to the united states.
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whenever there is a people in the world, we get more of the best and brightest. look at how our society has changed so dramatically over the change. the change of diet and food and everything. we are becoming more of an international nation that is a global, duty free hot zone for world transactions. >> what a wonderful description. [laughter] >> the shining city on a hill -- no. [laughter] >> there is a hand all the way over there. we have time for one last question. >> i and with the global review of fares. if we could you comment about what the map tells us about the prospects for errors piece in relation to water scarcity issues? >> turkey has all the water. that is why turkey is going to be a great middle level power in the 20th century.
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i discussed israel for about four pages in this book. i mean, that part of israel. and this is where i come down, unfortunately, geographically. this is about territory. territory that is very precious despite all the technological development. it is more precious because there is more people on this territory whether israeli settlers or a rising barium birth rate it becomes harder and harder to achieve. while we have been preoccupied with iran, israeli settlement has been rather robust. it doesn't get much use now.
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facts are being presented now, it will be harder to reach a solution. i haven't eaten any policy recommendations yet. let me give one, which should be sheer common sense. which is what i think james baker shows so ably when he was secretary of state. which is for there to be any israel israeli or arab peace, given the geographical imperative, u.s. has to be involved in a very proactive way. as i am i'm sure you have seen in this discussion. i think bob is prepared to sign some of his books. please, join me in thanking bob. [applause] >> thank you thank you.
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[applause] >> booktv has over 150,000 twitter followers. follow booktv on twitter to get publishing news, scheduling updates, also information about authors and talk with authors during our live programming. twitter.com/booktv.thin >> thomas friedman andi thin tran-sevens were ink somerset. mr. michael mandelbaum, when yos hear the term americaned exceptionalism, what you think? >> we write about the ways that we are exceptional, but we also make it clear thatceptionasm is exceptionalism is not antlement. entitlement. it has to be earned. degr it's not like an honorary degrep that you keep forever like adaya batting average. you have to keep it up everywe a day, and one of the themes of the book is that we are not keeping it up. to do to statof work maintain our exceptional status.
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>> tom friedman come you have been around for a long time. in the current campaign, we are hearing a lot of nostalgia about president reagan and tip o'neilk were best of friends and would always work things out and what again.l distri it is now at the atomic level things to ugo mounts. media >> a republican here and a now democrat there, a much more glarized congress. we have media it allows me to get news from a website thatse,y reflects my own interest. that we don't ever have to meetg people who disagree with us. of course, money involved asthat well. that buildingng up their hasresi basically become a form fordivio legalized bribery. you put it all together and youa have a prescription for a deeply divided political system.
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>> it is also a sense of ye nostalgia that things really weren't that great 30 years ago? or werear they? >> when it comes to parties workingor together, there was a big difference. of course, there was a big overarching difference. the cold war was a disciplining force on our society. you couldn't be silly or stupid. wead a we had nuclear guns pointed atad our heads. it forced people to compromise. with the end of the cold war, we have lost him of that. put >> michael mandelbaum, when you think about china today, where s would you think about that onrky the american spectrum? >> china has done remarkably well over the past 30 years.t china has some serious problems going forward. in this book, we talk a lot, buo about china and china's achievements, but we do not say that america must emulate chinah nhina is part of the process ofo globalization that has put ever more pressure on our society ans
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our economy, and on every individual who has and wants to keep or get a job. lo a china is important, but the message of this book is that we don't need to look at china, we need to look at ourselves, and indeed, we do need to look atok our history and our tradition. ed >> one of them has a backward cn looking title. if we get back to our best tradition, we can win the futurs in which we have won the past. we have to update them and we have to embrace them. >> my day job is that i am shingt professor of american foreign i policy at the johns hopkins school of advanced national studies in washington. we teach graduate w students. i have wonderful students from all over the world. students come from all over the world toer study here because ts america, is a america and they know that
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there is something special about america, and we love this book r and wrote it because we want to try to make sure that anstudents from all over the world and people and entrepreneurs and willgrants from all over the world will continue to come here. that this will remain a specialm place. course, >> tom friedman is "the new york times" columnists, pulitzer puize winner, three times? >> and how did you to team up? >> g >> we are old friends and neighbors. and for many days, we call each other and we talk about thebout world. but i did not notice something in recent w years.amer we would end everyday talking about america. it became apparent to us that te america has faced future vigor and vitality, that's how he came to write this book together. >> the name of the book is "than used to be us." our first call is ralph in evanston, illinois.r:
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>> yes, god bless us all. county our country, in major ways, ands health health care to use alternative therapy, which 99% or less, and total quality management and waste, fraud and corruption. end automotive oil imports, and aerodynamics underneath of the car and preheating the gasoline to burn completely. a >> ralph, we have a lot on the table, let's see if our guest we'v a response to you. tom, let's start with you. >> certainly, we have to look healare for the most innovative ways that we can to bring our health care costs down. we are both baby boomers. we will be retiring along with t
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our cohort. f if we don't find ai more efficient and cheaper coste heah efficient way to bring our health care and provide health care to baby burners in particular, we are really going to blow it out in 10 years. h you asconclude that basically by saying that america has alreadyt been able to pull its chestnuts out of the fire, and it's alwayt been that way, and we believe it's true, but it won't wehappen automatically. we have to get back to our best traditions, we have to start asking and answering the basic question that confronts every individual and country, namely what world are we living in and what do we have two due ton thrive in it, there is another change that is worth making a p point on. this is not going to be c painless. we will have to make sacrifices.
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any politician and tells you u that we can fix our problemaditf without messing up our hair is not true. r th we also have a tradition of sacrificing for a greater good and greater future and we have to get back to that, too. >> host: were the four majorati. challenges?to the >> guest: they are the gone foma revolution in the two haveypercn actually merged into one challenge. we have gone from a connected world to a hyper connected, world. wrote one of the points we made it inn the book is i actually wrote"thd about the world in 2004.lf, i got the first edition of a it. book, facebook wasn't in there. i was running around seven years ago thinking that we were all connected.
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used to send applications torom college, skype was a typo andflo now all of that has happened ino seven years. it's going to have to transformd education.in the last four our energy and debt and deficit. >> host: we have another callerh >> caller: my question is talking about the economy. i wonder where that is fundedve right now. been have we been [inaudible] with the partnership in recent years. someone in the united states,pre someone [inaudible]
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>> what a wonderful question. that is really a core argument book.azing about what made america great ie that we had a great public fodation partnership.economy an it provides a foundation for our market economy to believe launc, into the world. wor's educating the people, update wiem to what the economy was, bd bandwidth, the most open immigration policies so that we can bring people over there and still have the most energeticrue and talenteds immigrants. an we have rules and regulations to nded r incentivize and the most government-funded research pushes out the boundaries of science. our venture capitalists and at was smart iq risktakers can turn them into a new something we credible.ed o you get an america that cann deliver on the american dream.
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we need to get back to reinvesting and that.rs. >> host: mark in pennsylvania, please go ahead with your question for our two authors. hw >> caller: yes, hello? woing if i was wondering if you might simply look at the map, and thea riount we export and import froe around the world, that it might be too late to turn america around.ate. >> guest: it is not too late. we have exactly enough time to turn it around if we start now.a we have the resources, we have the human capital, we have ther, traditions. but we have to get serious about our challenges. incidentally, we are bullishamen about american manufacturing and exporting american manufacturing. there are a lot of technological using informationrs us. richnology, we are going toanufu have, we believe, if we do it
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right, a manufacturing comebacke although two other things havese to be, bu added.e pple. first, we are going to is manufacture more and export more. that we are not going to employ more people. this is going to be very t rollt special. gh if you want to work inwill be manufacturing and get higher wages and those jobs will be available, as we detail and notv you are going to have an awful lot of training. thing? >> host: is the trade deficit a bad thing? >> in and of itself? >> a sustained trade deficit, iy is going to get you in trouble does indicate that are you're probably consuming more than you are producing. but the trade deficit has that.
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>> host: one is the commercial president -- mitt romney know, accusing the president of else, defending china. >> they have to defend like anyone else. they here we are in the mall. the white house over there, constitutional thoughts. what really is of value, withthf with the chinese feeling from the declaration of independence, constitution and bill of rights and you should start to worry
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then. otherwise, we have that wonderful incredible foundation here. a rule block, protection of intellectual property and a wonderful society. >> host: michael mandelbaum, do you perceive china becoming theo world's largest economy, and iso that a bad thing? thin >> guest: it's not a bad thing y for china to become the world'st largest economy. as things go well in china, that will probably happen in the next decade or two. p but bear in mind that china hash soat many people that the per capita income in china will still be far lower than our per capita income. moreover, even when china as the world's largest economy, that will not make china the world leader. that will not, by itself, enablw china to do the things that the united states does for the world. one of the reasons we wrote that is that we believe that the
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america global world is not only unique, but in most ways at most times, uniquely valuable. us, it helps us and it helps the whole world. the world would be a less peaceful and prosperous place without the expensive american international role. in order to continue to play thathe role, we have to be befoe challenges that we outlined in the book. china, all of which is to say, among other things, that china, as well as america, has a very large interest in america meeting its challenges.oktv, >> host: next call for our two guests. marjorie and west virginia.i'keo >> caller: good afternoon, gentlemen. i would like to know if educatin mr. friedman would entertain a proposal for me about education- i think that we want to talk about the future of our country and how education drasticallyooy needs revamped from preschool
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all the way up to college levelm i would love to e-mail you and v talk to you about my ideas, buto i'm very ill. stamina.ave much so i would love to have anversa conversation with you if i could leave my information with the people at c-span, i would be th. grateful.e let me tell you what i'm thinking. i have taught from kindergarten through college level courses, i have a certification as a r readingea specialist. my undergraduate is languageisof arts. and then i became a curriculum r specialist as part of my career. so i have a best perspective oft what needs to be done in thucational system, and i just think that we are not -- we keei trying to put band-aids on what our problems are in this country. and i think we just need to start from scratch. your
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>> host: thank you very much, we appreciate it.ented to thomas friedman, education, whae are we doing right and wrong?ioe three what you need to know toe be prepared for the iq emerging, brin we had to challengesg today. we needed to bring up our ever so much faster. reading, writing and arithmetic. we need to bring our average so much higher. because that is really where the value-added jobs are.challee. bettave a dual educational challenge. we need better education to . sy >> host: we do have a lot to sal about education, and that used to be yes. one point that i think is saying
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overarching, there is no left te military affairs that are too important to be left to the. general. similarly, education is too ant.rtant to be left to the teachers. i say that not because teachers are unimportant, i am a teacher emself and i would never say that. but what i see and what weused emphasize the mat, is that education is a national refng responsibility.at it's not just a question of reforming this or that practice. all of us have to take ownershiu and responsibility for our educational system. it's not just teachers, community leaders, parents anddr students themselves, no matter how stressed they feel, in orded to thrive in the world of thethe 21st century, a world defined by the merger of globalization and the i.t. revolution, they are going to have to workl harder. d education is a national issue, g national responsibility, and w there is nothing moreho importan >> host: witty individuals they
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single out? >> guest: we have a number of people, very creative people in colorado, and we single out somebody who is veryer well kno. that is bill gates. bill gates has devoted many of f the resources of his foundationh to try to figure out what makes for good teaching. he concluded that we don't havet enough data or information. they are investing money and trying to figure out what helps teher. children learn and what makesert for it a good teacher. but the message is, this is a national responsibility, and everybody should take part.>> h because the future of ourtlanta, country depends on it. you, gd >> host: robert, you are on booktv. michael mandelbaum and "that used to be us: how america fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back" ourisy

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